Clint Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski in his latest movie Gran Torino. Walt is a racist, grumpy, angry conservative who has a hardened heart. The movie starts with his wife’s recent death. Walt lives in a run-down area of town that is overrun with gangs and other “bad” influences. His relationship with his two sons and their families is terrible.
A family of Hmong (Mong) people move in next door and the racial slurs come fast and furious from Walt. The problems begin when a local Mong gang starts terrorizing the family next door to Walt. Walt takes matters into his own hands and begins to cause problems for the gang while protecting the family members. The Hmong people look at Walt as a hero and start to treat him that way. He initially cannot stand the attention but slowly begins to soften. Ultimately, he befriends two of the older children and becomes a father figure to one.
The story really is about the emerging of a good man from a hardened exterior. The good was always there, but until the events with the Hmong family transpire, there was no way for the good to come out.
Clint Eastwood does an amazing job at portraying the gradual change from grumpy bastard to someone who can express their emotions truthfully. I’m surprised that he didn’t get any nominations for either the movie or his character interpretation.
There is some violence portrayed but it’s not overdone at all. I highly recommend the movie.